R-rated action just scored a major victory this past weekend with the official implosion of Sylvester Stallone and Avi Lerner‘s PG-13 gambit. Because of what has happened, action movies that should be ‘R’ are more likely to be just that from here on out.
We have had our critics on the harshness of how we covered The Expendables 3, but the fact is that if The Expendables 3 had sold well and become a box office success, it would’ve set a dangerous precedent. It would’ve sent out a message to producers that castrating their upcoming action movies, while not necessarily a good idea, might just be a good gamble. Did we really want Millenium Studios floating the idea of turning London Has Fallen into a ‘hard PG-13’? And ignore the temptation of added potential profit? Because that’s the path that a successful Expendables 3 might have led us down.
How about Rambo V? There’s a lot of talk that Rambo V will be toned down, in terms of intensity at least. No Country For Old Men is Stallone’s example. A successful Expendables 3 would’ve made a strong case for the producers to make Rambo V PG-13.
Mark my words, money talks. And if The Expendables 3 had blown up the box office, our opinion and input would’ve been ‘expendable’, next time around and probably every time around. In case you hadn’t accepted it yet, Stallone doesn’t care about your desires. The only thing that he and Avi Lerner respect is financial loss. Fans who supported this move and websites who stepped over themselves with a suspect hard-sell (it really is not a good movie, PG-13 or not) were part of the problem too.
As for the leak? That’s not the real problem here. The leak of a movie will only serve to mutate the fortunes or misfortunes of a movie either way. Lone Survivor was leaked, I believe, around Christmas. It went on to be a financial success, it’s a good movie. Go figure. And movies about the war in Afghanistan are not exactly all the rage. People don’t want to hear or see anything about that conflict.
Not every action movie has to be R-rated. that’s not what I’m saying. I am merely talking about the preservation of an endangered species. We should cherish our R-rated sub genre of action. Let’s hope Jerry Bruckheimer and Shane Black come out swinging with Beverly Hills Cop and Predator. I think they will.